The unexpected death of Prince yesterday sent shockwaves throughout the music industry and left fans and fellow celebs alike mourning the loss of a music icon who changed the landscape of music for Black artists for decades to come. And of the many celebs who mourned the loss of Prince, few were more unexpected and talked about than Frank Ocean, who recently penned an open letter to Prince for his contribution to music.
Tragically, Prince was found dead in his Paisley Park Studio in Minnesota yesterday morning. There are no details yet on the cause of his death, but it was reported last week that the famous singer-songwriter’s private plane had to make an emergency landing in Illinois so that the singer could be rushed to a hospital in Moline. Sources said at the time that the singer had been battling the flu for weeks, but he was released from the hospital just hours after his arrival.
While fans mourn the star’s death, Ocean went on his personal website last night and posted a lengthy open letter to Prince. In it, he explained how Prince’s unabashed style, gender expression and timeless music not only changed the world, but also personally inspired him to come out of the closet and to be a better, more daring artist.
“I’M NOT EVEN GONNA SAY REST IN PEACE BECAUSE IT’S BIGGER THAN DEATH. I NEVER MET THE MAN (I WAS TOO NERVOUS THE ONE TIME I SAW HIM) AND I NEVER SAW HIM PLAY LIVE, REGRETTABLY. I ONLY KNOW THE LEGENDS I’VE HEARD FROM FOLKS AND WHAT I’VE HEARD AND SEEN FROM HIS DEEP CATALOG OF PROPELLANT, FEARLESS, VIRTUOSIC WORK. MY ASSESSMENT IS THAT HE LEARNED EARLY ON HOW LITTLE VALUE TO ASSIGN TO SOMEONE ELSE’S OPINION OF YOU.. AN INFECTIOUS SENTIMENT THAT SEEMED SOAKED INTO HIS CLOTHES, HIS HAIR, HIS WALK, HIS GUITAR AND HIS PRIMAL SCREAM. HE WROTE MY FAVORITE SONG OF ALL TIME, ‘WHEN YOU WERE MINE’. IT’S A SIMPLE SONG WITH A SIMPLE MELODY THAT MAKES YOU WISH YOU THOUGHT OF IT FIRST, EVEN THOUGH YOU NEVER WOULD HAVE – A FLIRTATIOUS BRAND OF GENIUS THAT FEELS APPROACHABLE. HE WAS A STRAIGHT BLACK MAN WHO PLAYED HIS FIRST TELEVISED SET IN BIKINI BOTTOMS AND KNEE HIGH HEELED BOOTS, EPIC. HE MADE ME FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE WITH HOW I IDENTIFY SEXUALLY SIMPLY BY HIS DISPLAY OF FREEDOM FROM AND IRREVERENCE FOR OBVIOUSLY ARCHAIC IDEAS LIKE GENDER CONFORMITY ETC. HE MOVED ME TO BE MORE DARING AND INTUITIVE WITH MY OWN WORK BY HIS DEMONSTRATION – HIS DENIAL OF THE PREVAILING MODEL…HIS FIGHT FOR HIS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY – ‘SLAVE’ WRITTEN ACROSS THE FOREHEAD, NAME CHANGED TO A SYMBOL… AN ALL OUT REBELLION AGAINST EXPLOITATION. A VANGUARD AND GENIUS BY EVERY METRIC I KNOW OF WHO AFFECTED MANY IN A WAY THAT WILL OUTRUN OBLIVION FOR A LONG WHILE. I’M PROUD TO BE A PRINCE FAN(STAN) FOR LIFE.”
Well, there’s no way to follow that kind of statement so we’ll just leave it at rest in peace, Prince.